"He Was Obsessed, And It Was Okay"
In revisiting Ridley Scott's directorial debut, "The Duellists", I'm humbled by the scenic scope; natural lighting; superb stage combat, and a clear pattern of repetition and cycles. The importance of repetition and cycles in a story of obsession, in my opinion, is to parallel insanity (which is to do something over and over, expecting a different result).
Ironically, my personal, meta obsession has been on the structure of a story. I've been focusing on a hero's journey through story circles; but there are other shapes and avenues (this movie showcasing the first alternative I'll examine).
The Duellists is organized like chapters in a history book - A straight line of cold chronology, marked by milestones of the two characters combatting one another. Every time a milestone-duel is reached, the stakes are intensified by their enriched lives (mainly the honour-obsessed protagonist getting promoted, married, and expecting a family). Life becomes less and less a thing to be thrown into the balance and risked.
In my previous blog post, I unpacked the idea of a story that would seduce a character, the audience, and the camera (only to reveal the seduction is a trap by the 4th act)
The catalytic character in the story I have in mind, is designed to be a quiet villain. I want to play with camera angles that always include their reflection in almost every scene. Their image in every sense of the word will be their focus, and in turn, the camera’s.
I think my take-away tonight, is to consider what kind of patterns, and forms of repetition can be practiced in the story I'm building. I want the camera, and the character, to be obsessed with something.